Thanks for Covering County Government - The Missourian: Letters To The Editor

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Thanks for Covering County Government

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Posted: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 5:32 pm

To The Editor:

Is it really in a Franklin County employee’s job description to subject a reporter to a seemingly uncivil outburst for asking questions — doing his or her job?

According to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics the reporter’s job is to seek the truth, act independently, minimize harm and be accountable.

They are ethically bound to seek the truth on matters important to the public. They should strive to provide information the public cannot access and uncover, information the public needs in order to decide how to vote, what to support and how to engage in public process of governance.

The media’s responsibility is to doggedly pursue relevant information and work to ensure that the public has access to information.

Government officials, appointees and employees should not take this personally; the public has the right to know and there are laws that protect that right — the Sunshine Law is an example. These are based on the assumption that public servants work on behalf of the public, not personal interests or that of privileged or powerful entities.

Franklin County government should be open, transparent and responsive to questions posed by the public and the media who are working on behalf of the public.

Not knowing the circumstances that led to this exchange, a reporter asking questions is doing an important service for all of us. I thank the paper for covering issues that arise from decisions being made in the Franklin County Government Center.

The paper is our eyes and ears!

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